How to prevent freezing and bursting pipes in the winter months

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - January is one of the busiest months of the year for plumbers. And when temperatures drop into the teens, service calls to repair frozen water pipes go through the roof!

Exposed and poorly insulated pipes can freeze when temperatures drop and stay below 20 degrees for an extended period of time, but there are steps homeowners can take to prevent water pipes from bursting.

We met up with Zeb Swain of Chapman Plumbing Wednesday, who says he's had more than 30 service calls since New Year’s Day. Zeb was on his 5th frozen pipe service call of the day when we caught up with him.

"The pipes have frozen because there is no instillation on the pipes at all. So to the residents at home. You want to insulate all your pipes and make sure they are sealed off properly. If they're not air tight, they will cause a problem. It will bust if it's not air tight," Swain said.

Experts say remembering to wrap pipes with insulation and letting water trickle from a faucet can help prevent pipes from freezing.

"Like I said earlier. The best way to keep your pipes from freezing is to leave your water on at the longest point from your hot water heater so you know you're getting circulation of the water,” Swain said. "You know the wind chill affects a lot too. When the wind chill gets down on the wind starts coming across those pipes that aren't insulated, they freeze as well."

If you do have a frozen pipe, plumbers say you should always start the thawing process near the faucet then work your way down. A hair dryer, hot towel or a space heater can often thaw a frozen pipe.

Another helpful tip is to keep the thermostat in your home set to the same temperature both during the day and night. You might have a higher heating bill. But you can prevent an expensive repair job if pipes freeze or burst.

"What's $5 extra on your water bill vs. $2500 replacing all your water lines," Swain said.

Money saving advice from a professional who probably won't get much rest the next several days.

For more information, you can contact Chapman Plumbing Co. at 601-482-3521.